Remembering The Fallen – Memorial Day 2015

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 25, 2015 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

The following post was originally written and posted on this blog for Memorial Day 2012.  As I considered a post for this Memorial Day, I realized that I could not come up with a better message than this that captures the true essence of my feelings for this solemn day.  Today, we must pause, reflect, honor and appreciate the true sacrifice of our fallen soldiers, sailors and airman.  Those who have gone before deserve nothing less than our deepest gratitude; today, always, and forever.

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Throughout our Nation’s history, ordinary men and women have left the safe bounds of their normal lives to set out to do extraordinary deeds.  These sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers departed their families and the comforts of home to join something greater than themselves, in a noble tradition of patriotism and pride for the purpose of fighting to protect our way of life.

While most are being handed a burger or hot dog off the grill to enjoy on this solemn holiday, somewhere there is a family being handed a folded American flag being told, “On behalf of a grateful nation…”  While many in this Country are celebrating the homecoming of their college friends and family after a long year of study, there will be no homecoming for some who have fought and died in our Country’s battles.  They sacrificed their own homecoming so that others would still have theirs.  These are true heroes, and we owe them much more than one day of solemn remembrance and reverence.

Memorial Day 2015 Facebook.jpgOn this Memorial Day, one of our Nation’s most solemn and revered holidays, we all pause to reflect upon the principles that have made our Nation great.  We pause to remember the true cost of freedom and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice.  The brave men and women we honor today selflessly gave of themselves to defend a way of life that we all cherish: NEVER FORGET!

Related Content –

Memorial Day History (via usmemorialday.org)

History.com Memorial Day (via The History Channel)

A Memorial Day Message From The VFW (via vfw.org)

Memorial Day – A Pause To Remember (via generalleadership.com)

The True Meaning of Memorial Day (via The Bridge on medium.com)

Reflections on Memorial Day – Past and Present (via The Bridge on medium.com)

Photo Credit:

Memorial Day 2015 Best Soldiers Quotes, Sayings & Images (via http://www.fathersdayrock.com/, accessed 25 May 2015)

This Memorial Day, Pause To Remember (also linked here: http://ow.ly/i/aUfK5/original (via http://www.vfw.org/, accessed 25 May 2015)

Plan For Failure

Posted in Leadership with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2015 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

Picture source DoD“I don’t lose any sleep at night over the potential for failure. I cannot even spell the word.”

General James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis

We all strive for victory.  Each one of us hates to lose.  After all, it is essential for us to succeed in our daily lives.  We are obviously not living life to fail.  But, fail we will.

As important as it is to plan for victory, it is just as important to plan for failure.  Every ‘battle plan’ should consider all contingencies.  But, victory, of course, hangs on the details, and behind those details are hidden the pitfalls that can spell disaster and defeat.  We often take our eye off the potential negatives and ultimately find ourselves facing the unexpected.  This can easily be avoided.

Last week, we again saw another data breach hitting Anthem Blue Cross.  And, again, many experts are saying that this ‘disastrous’ data breach was avoidable.  When I first heard about it, my first thought was how something like this could happen again.  Haven’t these major organizations learned from other data breaches, such as to Michaels Stores, Home Depot, Kmart and ebay?  Aren’t major corporations taking steps to prevent these kinds of disasters from happening to them?  I can understand maybe not recognizing the unknown, but I cannot accept these companies blatantly ignoring what is going on around them, and to their peers in various corporate circles.  Again, planning for failure is just as important as planning for success.

In a recent blog post on The Military Leader, entitled 5 Questions That Can Save You From Disaster, author Drew Steadman discusses how failure can be avoided by not getting caught off guard by things that could have been anticipated.  As he states in his article, “A few moments of reflection can cue you in to the key indicators. And asking hard questions will force you and your team to acknowledge the situation you face.”  But, what I take away from Drew’s article is that you cannot wait for things to happen, or circumstances to change, before putting into place a plan that could work to avoid failure.  It is important to be quite aware of the peripheral things, because failure or victory are contingent on how (or if) you recognize and react to them.

One thing that I am certain of is that there will be a lot of uncertainty when planning for any outcome.  In essence, failures and miscues can be avoided by taking action based on our anticipation of the known’s and the unknowns.  And, doesn’t that sound familiar:

Recommended Reading: “The Certainty of Donald Rumsfeld

Part 1: Three Reporters

Part 2: The Known and the Unknown

Part 3: A Failure of Imagination

Part 4: Absence of Evidence Isn’t Evidence of Absence

As my youngest daughter, Kassandra, when she hears something so profound, says, “what does that even mean?”  When Donald Rumsfeld first uttered this statement during a press breifing in February 2002 about the lack of evidence linking the government of Iraq with the supply of weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups, he was making a point that there are various levels of certainty and uncertainty based on our knowledge of the facts as we know them, and the facts that aren’t yet clear. [View video of Donald Rumsfeld’s comments HERE]

To better define this, I found an article on SmartOrg by Don Creswell that defined the 3 Basic Sources of Risk and Uncertainty, which came out of a presentation by Kelvin Stott.

My take:

  • We must remain cognizant of those things that we know, while not discounting the possibilities that we think aren’t likely to happen.
  • We need to open more widely the avenues of communication, encouraging everyone to say something if they know something; share knowledge.  Nobody can assume the other knows what they know, nor can they think the information isn’t important.
  • Be Inquisitive and curious.  Ask questions and challenge the status quo.
  • We need to use our imagination, as well as look at the intelligence that is available, to make the best decision possible at the time.

Bottom line: Think outside the box, and don’t ignore the obvious.

“Failure is in a sense the highway to success, as each discovery of what is false leads us to seek earnestly after what is true.”

John Keats (1795-1821) British Poet

In the military, disasters could be due to bad planning, bad execution, bad weather, general lack of skill or ability, the failure of a new piece of military technology, a major blunder, a brilliant move on the part of the enemy, or simply the unexpected presence of an overwhelming enemy force.  But, what bothers me is when defeat and failure occur as a result of a known and preventable cause.  There are many military disasters throughout history that you can spend hours researching and realizing that they could have been avoided.

Recommended Reading: The Five Biggest Disasters in American Military History

I’m not suggesting that we are always going to be perfect.  What I am saying is that paying attention to certain details can make the difference between success and failure.  Being aware and prepared, innovative and imaginative, proactive and intuitive, can all make a big difference.

“When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal.”

Napoleon Hill (1883-1970) American speaker and motivational writer

As you look around at the people and organizations who are facing critical issues, problems, and crisis,[i] you should view those situations as instructive and constructive. They should, for you, act as lessons learned.[ii]  We can learn as much from other people’s failures, as we can from our own.  Try to recognize what took that person or organization into the direction of failure, and plan to do the things necessary to avoid them happening to you or your organization.

Don’t be smug thinking that these things cannot happen to you, or that they are rare or isolated incidents.[iii]  And, don’t be arrogant in the thought that these things can’t happen to you … Or, that ‘things just happen.’[iv]  Don’t let things happen because you failed to prepare, or you grew over-confident with success. Plan for failure.[v]  Don’t fall to complacency or laziness.

Twitter Share Button

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Inspired by five consecutive Tweets (#5Star #5Tweet) I posted on Friday, February 13, 2015:
[i]     Tweet 1 of 5
[ii]    Tweet 2 of 5
[iii]   Tweet 3 of 5
[iv]   Tweet 4 of 5
[v]    Tweet 5 of 5
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Sources:

Resolutions That Are Fundamentally Strong

Posted in Motivation with tags , , , , , , , on January 3, 2015 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

Here we are again; the beginning of a new year, and yet another opportunity to pronounce another proverbial New Year’s Resolution that will make improvements about ourselves.  Most of us decide to take actions that drive us to kick aside bad habits, while others just want to try something new in their lives.  Some people simply add new things to their bucket list that they want to accomplish or experience in the new year.  Whatever the motivation, and no matter the goal, the new year presents new opportunity to accomplish more than we did in the past.

New Year isn’t meant to serve as a catalyst for sweeping character changes. It is a time for people to reflect on their past year’s behavior and promise to make positive lifestyle changes[i].  I am often amazed, this time of year, at how we seem to distinctively draw that line between one year and the next, rather than making these choices and decisions progressively throughout the year and throughout our lives.  As I said in a Tweet on December 26th:

Why are we waiting until next Thursday (January 1, New Year’s Day) to start something new or kick bad habits aside.  Let’s start today. (via @5StarLeadership)

It’s never too late to turn a new page[ii], or to start a new chapter in your book of life.  For others, their goal is to accomplish the goals of 2014 which they should have done in 2013 because they made a promise in 2012 and planned in 2011[iii].  And, there are some people who absolutely resent the notion of making New Year’s resolutions.  For those people, making New Year’s resolutions implies that they need to change.  I guess they think they’re perfect just the way they are[iv]. But, shouldn’t we always be resolving to improve?  Shouldn’t we be building a list of goals and objectives all the time that are fundamentally strong?  Isn’t it important and valuable to aspire to achieve these victories throughout our lives?  If we are in a position to set resolutions to make improvements, or to take definitive action to destroy behaviors that have prevented us from advancing, we are obviously fighting these battles now. As Vala Afshar Tweeted recently:

As you enter the new year, you have 3 decisions:

  1. What will I leave behind?
  2. What will I bring with me?
  3. What can I create that’s new?

First, we must reflect on the lessons you’ve learned along your life’s journey to this point.  We must consider the mistakes we’ve made, particularly with past resolutions.  Maybe they were unrealistic or unattainable.  Maybe we weren’t fully prepared to follow-through with the promise we made with ourselves or others, or there were challenges and setbacks we didn’t anticipate.  When making new resolutions, we should consider our strengths, and be totally honest with ourselves about our weaknesses. Second, we need to answer a few questions before truly deciding what actions we are going to take to achieve victory in 2015.  Just like going into battle, we have to make decisions on what we will need to achieve victory.  What are our priorities?  What resources will we need to effectively and efficiently reach each milestone?  Of the resources we have available, which are the ones that need improvement?  How and where can we blaze new trails to reach new destinations in our lives?

Your success in 2015 will be based on how well you mix the ingredients for achieving victories along the path. (via @5StarLeadership)

Last, our choice of targets (resolutions) should be unselfish.  We must think of those around us when determining what we are going to set out to achieve.  What impact will our choices have on those around us?  Your New Year’s resolution should be as much for those around you as it is for yourself.  Do something that benefits everyone[v]. For those of us who are leaders, making resolutions amounts to creating a vision, then determining a set of action steps to accomplish each task along the road to victory.  The principles, virtues and values that go into these intentions considers many of the same thought processes an individual takes when deciding to improve something in their lives, or to take deliberate action to accomplish something monumental.  No matter if you are a leader of a team or organization, or someone who has important goals to accomplish in their lives, it will be important to establish a clear vision for what you are setting out to achieve. _________________________________________________________________________________________________ 2015 Resolutions For You and Those Around You To Become Fundamentally Strong –

The following can be adapted to fit any person, situation, family, friend, team, company, etc.  Each of the following four initiatives are based on a series of Tweets I posted on New Year’s Day.  After each one listed is a link to the original Tweet:

  1. Inspire greatness among everyone you interact with by creating a positive, engaging environment. (Tweet)
  2. Ensure that you, and everyone around you, are ready to face the challenges ahead, while strengthening the resources you’ll need to ultimately accomplish each and every objective. (Tweet)
  3. Embrace failure as much as you do achievement.  Use every situation as a teaching moment for you and others. Become a student, mentor or coach, as needed. (Tweet)
  4. Take care of yourself physically and mentally to be a stronger person.  And, encourage those around you to do the same.  Build on strengths, tear down weaknesses. (Tweet)

 

 _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Keeping It Real –

Making New Year’s resolutions requires a certain attitude, focus and commitment.  It requires a discipline that is firm and unwavering. Discipline is easy to talk about – but difficult to practice without the right motivation[vi].  And being continuously motivated and inspired to achieve anything in life can be challenging.  Let’s be honest; it’s not easy.  We have too many distractions and negative impulses, as well as constraints on our time.  Some might say that our struggles with resolutions is mind over matter; we don’t mind because it doesn’t matter.  But, you must have a strong desire to succeed and be determined to stick to it. Here are a few keys to success:

  1. Identify a tangible and legitimate resolution that will improve or enhance your life. Make it relevant.
  2. Avoid making one overwhelming and sweeping change.  Smaller, more attainable resolutions will help you reach for whatever you are striving to achieve.
  3. Specify the improvements you want to make, listing their priority of importance and completion.  Then specify the tasks, behaviors, resources and/or requirements that will fulfill every aspect and obligation of the resolution
  4. Recognize and plan for the constraints and challenges that may cause you to fall back or fail.  Prepare yourself mentally and/or physically for those pitfalls, and gain the necessary resources and support mechanisms to overcome them.
  5. Set several milestones with attainable time-bound gates.  Hold yourself to a schedule, and track your progress.
  6. Start with small, attainable goals to start.  It is important to gain confidence in your efforts, and winning a few smaller battles will strengthen your resolve.
  7. Remain focused, and do not give in to complacency or laziness.  Use the lessons you learned with past resolutions to drive yourself to success.  There is no substitute for victory.
  8. Improvise, adapt and overcome.  You may have to change your plans along the way, but do not change your vision.  You have set a firm goal and resolution; DO NOT turn back after stubbing your toe or stumbling.  Don’t beat yourself up if you fall back, even if it seems your setbacks are insurmountable to recover from.  Remember, minor missteps are perfectly normal, and they may seem far greater than they really are.  Face it, you’ll have ups and downs.  But, you must resolve to recover from your mistakes and get back on track.

 

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“Success is the ability to visualize what you want to do next with your life—what you want to be, do, and have in life—and to enjoy that process of moving toward that vision, achieving it, and creating new visions.” ~ Norma Carr Ruffino

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See Also –

Being Aware and prepared: A Motto for Success and Victory in the New Year (commandperformanceleadership.wordpress.com)

Footnotes –

[i] Making Your New Year’s Resolution Stick – Accessed 2 January 2015 – American Psychological Association – http://www.apa.org/

[ii] From a Tweet by @E_H_Carpenter, posted on 30 December 2014 at 12:15PM: https://twitter.com/E_H_Carpenter/status/549977008118448128 – Accessed 2 January 2015

[iii] From a Tweet by @Noel_DeJesus, posted on 31 December 2014 at 10:29AM: https://twitter.com/Noel_DeJesus/status/550312847071535104 – Accessed 2 January 2015

[iv] Inspired by a Tweet by @GalleryAriana, posted on 1 January 2015 at 11:36AM: https://twitter.com/GalleryAriana/status/550692050040266752 – Accessed 2 January 2015

[v] From a Tweet by @5StarLeadership (That’s ME), posted on 1 January 2015 at 11:01AM: https://twitter.com/5StarLeadership/status/550683356439269376 – Accessed 2 January 2015

[vi] Pause Now To Consider Your Success Goals for 2015 – Accessed 2 January 2015 – Office Dynamics International – http://officedynamics.com/

* Find more resources and information on setting New Year’s resolution on Google.

Photo Credits –

A Leadership Blog Reborn

Posted in Command Performance, Inaugural Posts with tags , , , , , on December 28, 2014 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

It has been far too long since I last posted to this blog.  Shame on me!  First, let me extend my sincerest apologies to those who have found this blog to be informative and inspiring.  I realize that my abrupt departure from writing has disappointed many loyal readers who have come to enjoy Command Performance Leadership.  I realize that one of the worst things a blogger can do is abandon their blog for long lengths of time, running the risk of losing readership, as well as the credibility of what the writer and the blog represents to its audience.  Although I have been mini-blogging on Twitter (@5StarLeadership), there is nothing like writing a blog that presents ideas and perspectives on topics that are compelling; themes and subjects that provoke thought and inspire discussion.

But, I’ve been a little busy, lately.  Let me offer a brief explanation, and bring you up to date on what’s been going on in my World.

In February of 2010, I found myself unexpectedly facing an abrupt transition in my career.  Laid-off from the company I had been working for, and on the brink of exiting the industry that I had spent the first twenty-years of my career, I was thrown into quite a discouraging and frightening set of circumstances for someone who had, up to that point, been settled into a comfort zone of stability virtually their entire career.  For the two years that followed, I struggled to gain footing onto a new career path.  But, In April of 2012, I entered into a hiring process for a business operations management position with an industrial butterfly valve company, serving the petro-chemical and power-generation markets.  After countless interviews, which occurred through the remainder of that year, I was hired to become the Business Manager of Quadax Valves, Inc.; a newly established start-up here in the United States.  I began my job in January of 2013 with the task of organizing the business administration and operations of this new business unit in a highly competitive and seasoned marketplace.  I have been hard at work and deeply engaged in those endeavors, building the North America operation for our parent company, which is headquartered in Forchtenberg, Germany.

In my absence from writing, the military leadership genre in the blogosphere has continued to grow, with online discussions about the synergies between military and private-sector leadership continuing to add new voices.  In a recent Tweet, The Military Leader shared a post from his blog, “7 Military Blogs You Need to Check Out,” which highlighted his ‘go to’ list of blogs that focus on the discussion of military leadership.  That blog post, and the Tweets in reply that followed, revealed that there are many in social media (blogs, Twitter, etc.) talking about military leadership and life in the military; far more than when I first started my blog a few years ago.  The Military Leader has since expanded his Blogs Page, and I am proud that my blog now appears on that list among other blogs I aspire this blog to be like.

So, I better get back to it, if I want to be considered a legitimate and credible resource in this genre.  There’s a lot of work to do to get my blog back to where it used to be, and to enter back into the forum of discussion with those who find that there is great importance in highlighting the traits and skills that our military offers, and to tell the many stories about how military leadership has its place in today’s corporate environment.  Command Performance Leadership will take its place among its peers in the blogosphere.

Of course, this is an ideal time to bring this blog back to life.  With a new year upon us, we should all be looking to kick aside old and bad habits, and to resolve to develop new behaviors and lifestyle changes that will bring greater success and victory.

For those of you that are new to my blog, WELCOME!  I am grateful that you have found it.  Please take some time to browse around this blog, paging back through recent and older posts, and using the search tool to look for topics that interest you.  For a quick-start to the blog, please read About the Blog and The Birth of a Leadership Blog to learn more about the premise and purpose of this blog.  And, I encourage you to look through the Archives of Past Posts.  I sincerely hope that what is within the pages of this blog now, and posts that I write in the future, will interest you enough for you to become a loyal reader.

Your turn to join the discussion 

What would be your “Mount Rushmore” of blogs?

Who are you following on Twitter that brings you valuable information and news?

What are you planning to change in the coming year that will translate to more victories in your life?

Suggestion Box 

What topics should this blog focus on and discuss in future posts?

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Being Aware and Prepared: A Motto for Success and Victory in the New Year

Posted in Motivation with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2014 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

It is quite simple, really. Like the Boy Scout motto says, ‘Be Prepared’. You never want to be caught short of essential information or valuable resources going into battle; business or otherwise. Being blindfolded and hog-tied is no way to fight and achieve victory. As we go into the new year, let us all have the motto, ‘Be Prepared’, as our first (of many) New Year’s Resolution. Seek and acquire what is necessary and required to perform at the highest possible level.

And, it doesn’t stop with us and OUR preparation. This should extend to those we work with, those who work for us, and those we work for. Let us not find ourselves limiting the knowledge or tools that will help others, and the organization, win the everyday battles we will all face in 2014.

Have a successful and victorious 2014.

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Spirituality in War: Victory Through Faith

Posted in Leadership, Quote of the Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 10, 2013 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

Sunday’s Spiritual Quote

“There is no substitute for the spiritual, in war.  Miracles must be wrought if victories are to be won, and to work miracles men’s hearts must…be afire with self-sacrificing love for each other, for their units, for their division, and for their country.  If each man knows that all the officers and men in his division are animated with the same fiery zeal as he himself feels, unquenchable courage and unconquerable determination crush out fear, and death becomes preferable to defeat or dishonor.”[i]

Major General John A. Lejeune, USMC

from The Reminiscences of a Marine

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The true strength of the men and women of our armed forces is their faith in themselves and in others; faith in their skills, their abilities and their resources.  They must have faith and courage to overcome adversity during the chaos of war and the constant struggles of military life.  Faith is the bedrock of teamwork, and General Lejeune’s quote speaks to the power of esprit de corps, and one’s solidarity and devotion to the love of victory over defeat for themselves, their teammates, their unit, and their country.  Therefore, it is one’s faith that becomes their secret weapon, and prayer is the secret battleground where victories are won.[ii]

Faith is confident assurance concerning what we hope for, and conviction about things we do not see.  Through faith we perceive that what is visible came into being through the invisible by faith.

Hebrews 11:1

 

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Footnote:

[i] The Reminiscences of a Marine. Major General John A. Lejeune. Philadelphia, PA: Dorrance and Company, 1930. Chapter Fifteen, Nancy, Marbache, Colombey – Les Belles. p. 307. Hathi Trust Digital Library (http://www.hathitrust.org/). Web. Date Accessed on 10 Feb. 2013. http://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015008300819

[ii] Prayer Is the Soul’s Sincere Desire – By James Montgomery (1771-1854) – Words written in 1818 at the re­quest of Ed­ward Bick­er­steth, who want­ed them for his book, Trea­tise on Pray­er.  Mont­gom­ery called this “the most at­tract­ive hymn I ev­er wrote.”

Photo Credit:

Lt.Gen. John Archer Lejeune (1867-1942) – Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune website – http://www.lejeune.marines.mil/

 

Related Articles:

Leadership That Is McChrystal Clear

Posted in Leadership with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 15, 2013 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

When a military leader hangs up his combat boots after a long and successful career, I always hope that they plan to share their experiences, wisdom and leadership philosophies in the pages of a book.  It has become commonplace in the last two decades for a military officer who has been successful on the battlefield to write a book about their life in uniform (Schwarzkopf, Franks, Powell).  And, throughout history, we have been fortunate to learn a lot about our greatest, most storied Generals and Admirals (Washington, Grant, Lee, Halsey, Nimitz, Eisenhower, Patton, MacArthur, etc.) through their own writing and words, and those of historians, biographers, authors, and bloggers who have determined that learning and discussing what made these military officers great leaders is valuable knowledge to current and future leaders and scholars.  You can find an assortment of these books on the internet.

General Stanley McChrystal (U.S. Army Retired) has written a memoir entitled, “My Share of the Task,” adding to the list of many great military leaders whose life in uniform has been chronicled.  Stanley McChrystal retired in July 2010 as a four-star General in the U.S. Army.  His last assignment was as the commander of the International Security Assistance Force and as the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.  He had previously served as the direc­tor of the Joint Staff and as the commander of the Joint Special Operations Command.  He is currently a senior fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs and the co-founder of the McChrystal Group, a leadership consulting firm.

I have yet to add McChrystal’s book to my bookshelf, so this post is not a review or endorsement of it.  I absolutely intend on grabbing a copy of his book very soon.  Instead, this post is to highlight his leadership philosophy and wisdom that allowed him to climb the ranks of the United States Army to become a Four-Star General.  While most people are focusing more attention on how his career came to an abrupt end following a Rolling Stone article in 2010, I would prefer discussing his leadership.  I think each of us can learn a lot from this warrior, statesman and scholar.

A one-of-a-kind commander with remarkable record of achievement, General Stanley McChrystal is widely praised for creating a revolution in warfare that fused intelligence and operations.  He stresses a uniquely inclusive leadership model focused on building teams capable of relentless pursuit of results. When old systems fall short, McChrystal believes true leaders must look for ways to innovate and change.  From his extraordinary career, McChrystal reveals a four-star management strategy, stressing openness, teamwork, and forward-thinking.

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General McChrystal is the co-founder of the McChrystal Group.  From his time as a commanding general, he revolutionized key leadership principles such as transparency and inclusion; leveraging the power of teams through shared ownership; and sharing a clear vision for winning with an extended team.

He, along with his team at The McChrystal Group, have developed a program called the CrossLead Way.  The principles and operational structure of CrossLead are based on the exceptional military leadership successes of the General and his staff.  The principles of CrossLead are:

1. Trust

Build a foundation of relationships based on trust and teamwork.

2. Understand
Understand the operating environment and your organization while constantly adapting for purpose.

3. Align
Align the team around a clearly defined vision, set of values and an achievable and resilient strategy.

4. Communicate
Force and foster a culture of inclusion, transparency, and accountability through constant communication.

5. Decide
Create shared ownership by decentralizing decision-making and execution to the most effective level.

6. Discipline
Ruthlessly prioritize, maintain a disciplined and sustainable battle rhythm, and focus on what only you can affect.

7. Win
Accomplish your objectives. Succeed constantly by relentlessly assessing and improving performance. Win.

From these principles, the McChrystal Group believes that the collective wisdom of an organization is it’s most valuable resource – that trust, speed and discipline are decisive – that leaders are made and leadership is a choice.  Most importantly, we believe in winning in any environment.

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Since General McChrystal’s retirement, he has shared what he learned about leadership over his decades in the military as a public speaker and lecturer.  His overall leadership premise is how can you build a sense of shared purpose among people of many ages and skill sets?  His answer is by listening and learning — and addressing the possibility of failure.  This blog has featured General McChrystal in the past, but I wanted to again highlight some of the key points General McChrystal emphasizes in his presentations to groups, organizations, companies and students:

1) If your people do everything you taught them to do, and they do those things properly, you led them well. People follow leaders.

2) Leaders can let you fail, and yet not let you be a failure.

3) Leaders build confidence and trust in their people. And, those who you are leading have to have faith and trust in the leader. Leaders have to build faith, trust and confidence.

4) In failure, the leader must reach out to his force and rebuild trust and confidence…rebuilt confidence in the force, rebuilt confidence in the leader, and rebuilt confidence in the seniors of the leader and the force.

5) A leader must build consensus and a sense of shared purpose with his force.

6) How does a leader stay credible and legitimate when they haven’t done what the people their leading are doing? Leaders must become more transparent and a lot more willing to listen.

7) Keep your promises and live up to your obligations; to your subordinates, your peers and your superiors. Be ready to support them when they need you most.

8) A leader isn’t good because he is right. They’re good because their willing to learn, and to trust. If you are a leader, the people you’ve counted on will help you out. And, if you’re a leader, the people who count on you need you on your feet.

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Unfortunately, General McChrystal’s career ended sooner than he or anyone anticipated, but in no way short of victory.  As with any abrupt departure of a high-profile military leader due to controversy, scandal or integrity issues, we should always look at what that person did in their career in total; the quality of the individual, and the successes they achieved.  General McChrystal dedicated 34 years of his life to the United States Army, and his leadership, warrior spirit and patriotism, without question, is what makes him one of the great military leaders of our time.  The military prematurely lost this officer, but the private sector has gained a gem in McChrystal (to use a bit of a pun).  We now become the new benefactors of his teachings, wisdom and philosophy.  Through his new book, we can see inside this man and the principles that have made him successful. , beyond the controversy of the Rolling Stone article back in 2010.  As I said earlier, I intend on purchasing his book, and I think you should too.

Copyright © Dale R. Wilson

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Related Articles –

McChrystal Speaks Out on Rolling Stone Article (foxnews.com)

General Stanley McChrystal: Leadership Lessons from Afghanistan (Forbes.com)

Stan McChrystal: Trading Shadows for Showtime with accompanying video Q & A With General Stanley McChrystal (time.com)

‘I Accept Responsibility': McChrystal On His ‘Share Of The Task’ (npr.org)

Gen. McChrystal’s Lessons in Leadership

(cnbc.com)

[Video] Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal on Leadership (youtube.com)

Sources –

Plywood Leadership: Lessons on Leadership from a Warrior, Statesman and Scholar – Accessed 13 January 2013 – Association for Corporate Growth (ACG Global) – http://www.acg.org/

CrossLead Way – Accessed 13 January 2013 – McChrystal Group – http://www.mcchrystalgroup.com/home

Listen, Learn…Then Lead – Accessed 13 January 2013 – Command Performance Leadership blog – https://commandperformanceleadership.wordpress.com/

Photo Credits –

Book cover and profile picture – The McChrystal Group via http://www.mcchrystalgroup.com/home – Accessed 13 January 2013

Stanley McChrystal: Listen, Learn…Then Lead – http://images.ted.com/images/ted/1e1176d6968f6b244a1962d6231a5410fa7d8ef9_389x292.jpg – Ted.com – Accessed 13 January 2013

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